Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Gaslight (1944)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gaslight (1944)

In George Cukor's dramatic mystery-thriller, based on the 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton:

  • the scene of the early train journey by Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman) to Lake Como, when she conversed with Miss Thwaites (Dame May Whitty) in a compartment - the garrulous Englishwoman loved murder mysteries, and was reminded of the 'real, live murder" that occurred in Paula's murdered aunt's London home ten years earlier: "It was a most mysterious case. They never found out who killed her. They never even found a motive"; the tragic recollection of the unsolved murder case where her Aunt Alquist was murdered was un-nerving to the meek and disconcerted Paula
  • the domination and slow destruction of wife Paula Alquist Anton's (Ingrid Bergman) sanity by her manipulative and greed-obsessed but charming husband Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), during his surreptitious search for her aunt's valuable jewels, where they now lived in the London house - the ancestral home at 9 Thornton Square - that she had inherited from her dead aunt
  • the scene of Paula's discovery of an incriminating piece of evidence - one of her aunt's old letters inside a score, written by her aunt's murderer (Sergis Bauer) two days before the homicide; Gregory violently snatched the letter from her hands
  • Gregory's flirtations with young, teenaged Nancy Oliver (Angela Lansbury in her film debut), the recently-hired house-maid, to slowly, menacingly, and seductively drive his innocent young wife mad; in Paula's presence, he flirted with the maid (about her beat-policeman boyfriend) and suggested that the cheeky young girl help restore his wife's youthfulness: "I was wondering whether you might not care to pass some of your secrets on to your mistress and help her get rid of her pallor"
  • the beginning of Gregory's ploys to make Paula go crazy, including a missing family heirloom brooch in her purse, gaslights mysteriously dimming, footsteps from the third floor attic above, a missing framed picture (causing Paula fears that she was a kleptomaniac), etc., and her feelings of panic: "I hear noises and footsteps. I imagine things, that there are people over the house. I'm frightened, and of myself too"
  • the search through Paula's purse at the Dalroy's musical concert party and the discovery of Gregory's missing pocket watch in her handbag - causing Paula's serious breakdown when they returned home; Paula asked: "Gregory, are you trying to tell me I'm insane?...But that's what you think, isn't it? That's what you've been hinting and suggesting for months now, ever since the day I lost your brooch. That's when it all began. No, no, no, it began before that. The first day here when I found that letter" - but he denied that the letter even existed
  • in the ultimate conclusion, suspicious Scotland Yard detective Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotten) searched through Gregory's locked desk with Paula, where the letter from Sergis Bauer ten years earlier was hidden away: "I was right. There was a letter...I found this. But my husband said I dreamed. And now it's here. It's been here the whole time"; it clearly revealed that Gregory (aka Sergius Bauer) had in fact murdered Paula's aunt in the same home located at Number 9 Thornton Square in London, England
  • Cameron assured Paula: "You're not going out of your mind. You're slowly and systematically being driven out of your mind"; he had become convinced that Gregory spent his nights methodically hunting and searching through her aunt's possessions in search of her missing jewelry
Cameron: "You're not going out of your mind"
Vengeful Accusations Against Husband
  • Paula's final scene of psychological retribution - including her vengeful and scornful statement against her husband, who was tied by rope to a chair: "If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!"

Miss Thwaites (Dame May Whitty) and Murder Mysteries

Paula's Discovery of the Incriminating Letter From Sergis Bauer (aka Gregory Anton)

Gregory's Flirtations with Saucy Housemaid Nancy
(Angela Lansbury)

The Missing Framed Picture

Gregory with Wife Paula at Musical Concert

Going Crazy


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